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MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas got off to a woeful start but Perlas Pilipinas dominated Day 1 of the 2019 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in record-setting fashion at Changsa, China on Wednesday, May 22.
Led by the country’s top-ranked players in Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos, Perlas set the record for the largest margin of victory in FIBA 3×3 history after humiliating Samoa, 21-1. They then survived Chinese Taipei, 16-13, to finish Day 1 with a 2-0 slate.
With a win tomorrow against winless Vanuatu, Perlas, who were also boosted by the debuting Clare Castro, can advance to the next stage of the annual tourney.
On the other side, things were not as bright for Gilas Pilipinas as they absorbed back-to-back defeats at the hands of Thailand, 11-14, and Qatar, 17-21.
Before this, the Philippines has never lost a 3×3 opening game against any neighboring Southeast Asian country.
Gilas lagged behind 7-12 against Thailand before Ricci Rivero, the country’s 178th-ranked player and the best of the current delegation, suffered an ankle sprain and did not play against Qatar later that day.
With Rivero’s exit, the Ronnie Magsanoc-coached team is now left to fend off Iran and Samoa with 3×3 first-timer Barkley Ebona and two high-schoolers in RJ Abarrientos and Rhayyan Amsali.
Curiously enough, the country’s top 3×3 players such as Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol were all available to play, but were ultimately not fielded for the Asia Cup.